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How to Choose Access Mats

Northern Mat & Bridge knows that the selection of access mats can be a complex decision. We want to make the process a lot easier for you with our useful guide which will detail which access mats you should use in different terrains and operational conditions; so you always get the right product to meet the needs of your project.

How To Choose Access Mats


How to Select an Access Matting Solution

Versatility: Choosing the Right Mats for the Job

Access matting solutions come in a variety of forms and names; mud, swamp, rig, timber, crane and so on. Each is defined by a set of capabilities: construction materials, loading bearing ability, durability during service and suitability for a task. Below is a list of the most common types of access mats with an explanation of features to help you make informed decisions when selecting an access solution.

Standard 3-Ply Bolted Wooden Access Mats

Common names: Swamp mats, Mud mats, Environmental mats, laminated mats (Lam mats), Cross Laminated Timber Mats (CTL), Construction mats, road mats, and bog mats

Standard Construction materials: Softwood mats: 100% Douglas Fir, Hardwood mats: 100% oak, Fir Lite Hybrid: Fir with Oak edges, mixed hardwood***

Industries: construction, power transmission and distribution, mining, pipeline, oil and gas, wind energy, emergency response

Common uses: Temporary access roads, lease construction, storage sites, pipeline right-of-way, campsites, muskeg/ swamp crossing, sensitive land protection, emergency access

Regardless of what you choose to call your 3-ply bolted wooden access mats, their versatility and economic advantages make them, by far, the most popular choice of matting. These 8’ x 14’, three-ply wooden mats have a finger-and-joint system which allows the mats to interconnect from end to end, providing additional strength and stability.

*** Mixed hardwood mats are generally made from a variety of different hardwoods. In many cases they will contain only a few boards of oak, yet some companies will advertise them as ‘oak’ mats. When choosing mixed hardwood, you want to be sure that you fully understand which wood products are used to make that mat. Many hardwoods such as Gum, Cottonwood and Poplar, used in mixed hardwood mats have a strength rating close to Douglas Fir but weigh much more. This results in some companies charging you a higher price for the mixed hardwood ‘oak’ mat, which is less durable and will have higher transportation related costs.

Steel Framed Rig Mats

Common names: Heavy equipment mats, Construction mats, steel mats, tank farm mats, road mats

Standard Construction materials: Steel frames, Premium Fir wood - #2 or higher decking, Northern white spruce wooden decking

Industries: construction, power transmission and distribution, mining, pipeline, oil and gas, Heavy Civil, Forestry, Environmental Remediation

Common uses: Tank farms, Pipeline crossings, small stream crossings, drilling rig foundations, temporary work platforms

Heavy duty projects call for heavy duty access mats. If you are looking for a mat with maximum load bearing capacity, Rig Mats are the right solution for you. These heavy duty platforms are constructed with rigid steel beaming and high quality wood decking. Our standard rig mats come in three and four beam variations measured at 8’x 20’,30’ or 40’. We can also manufacture custom rig mats.

Crane Mats

Common names: Digging Mats, Dragline Mats,Heavy Equipment Mats, Timber Mats, Swamp Mats, Pipeline Mats, Dragline Mats

Standard Construction materials: Premium Fir #2 or higher

Industries: construction, power transmission and distribution, mining, pipeline, oil and gas, Heavy Civil, Forestry, Environmental Remediation

Common uses: Heavy equipment working platforms, bridge/tresses, roads, crane and excavator support

Crane Mats are extremely durable mats constructed from solid wood beams and bolted together to make platforms that can stand up to the weight of pickers, excavators and other yellow iron. They are commonly used during the construction phase of a project. Crane mats are a vital part of any construction project because no one can afford to risk their crew, assets and timelines by having heavy machinery sink into unstable soil.

At Northern Mat & Bridge, we have the knowledge and skills to be your site access experts. Call us today to discuss the best access solutions for your project. 1-800-354-4144

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